Inibehe Effiong, a lawyer and human rights activist, has indicated that he would institute legal action against President Muhammadu Buhari over the continuation of work by his personal aides despite the expiration of their appointments. Effiong implied that he would approach the Federal High Court to interpret Sections 151 and 171 of the 1999 Constitution, which stipulates the terms of appointments of aides of the president. Section 151 states that the appointment of all special advisers shall cease when the President ceases to hold office, while Section 171 states that the appointment of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation and any office or the personal staff of the President shall cease when the President ceases to hold office.
According to him, since the first term of President Buhari and his vice, Yemi Osinbajo, expired on the midnight of May 28, their personal aides should not be working on his behalf until they have been reappointed. Effiong explained that the aides have violated the constitution by continuing in their capacity as staff to the president and vice president respectively. “Since his swearing-in on May 29, 2019, President Buhari has failed to make crucial and key appointments which are vital to the running of the business of governance. “I have also observed that certain Presidential aides have continued to issue statements on behalf of the President, while others have carried on as if they were still occupying their offices,” Effiong told reporters. “The tenure of Presidential aides comes to an end when the tenure of the President ends. President Buhari’s first tenure ended midnight, May 28, 2019. Therefore, all his personal aides, appointees and every person working for him and the Vice-President ceased to hold office on the midnight of May, 28, 2019.”
Effiong questioned why President Buhari had not reappointed his aides if he wanted to retain them, noting that some second term governors such as Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State and Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom State had already reappointed their personal aides. “The implication is that Mallam Garba Shehu and Femi Adesina for example, are no longer the spokespersons for the President and cannot issue statements on behalf of the President except they are reappointed. “To be clear, the tenure of the occupants of the following offices ceased and came to an end when President Buhari’s first tenure ended on the midnight of May 28, 2019. “By Section 135 of the constitution, President Buhari’s four-year term ended on the midnight of May 28, 2019. In conclusion, the President has to make fresh appointments to the offices that I have earlier listed. President Buhari also reserves the right to reappoint the previous holders of those offices,” he said.